News

Spielberg tops Oprah as ‘most influential’ celebrity

Spielberg tops Oprah as ‘most influential’ celebrity

HE'S SO COOL: Spielberg's influence was boosted by his most recent film, "Lincoln," which earned 12 Oscar nominations last year including best picture and best direction, and grossed $275 million at the global box office. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – Director Steven Spielberg on Wednesday dethroned media mogul Oprah Winfrey as the most influential celebrity in the United States, according to an annual study by Forbes magazine that was dominated by film directors.

Spielberg’s influence was boosted by his most recent film, “Lincoln,” which earned 12 Oscar nominations last year including best picture and best direction, and grossed $275 million at the global box office.

The magazine said the 67-year-old director’s ability to attract foreigners to a U.S. drama about the back-room dealings and minutiae of 19th-century Washington politics spoke to his prowess. “Lincoln” grossed $93 million in foreign markets.

Forbes said that 47 percent of people surveyed rated Spielberg as influential.

“A celebrity’s ‘Influential’ score represents how that person is perceived as influencing the public, their peers, or both,” Gerry Philpott, president of E-Poll Market Research, which conducted the study for Forbes, told the magazine.

Winfrey, 59, who topped the list with 49 percent last year, slipped to 45 percent this year, which Forbes said could be due to her retreat from the spotlight while running her cable television network OWN.

Film director and “Star Wars” creator George Lucas placed third despite working little in the public eye in recent years. He sold his Lucasfilm company to Walt Disney Co for $4.05 billion in October 2012.

Directors Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese placed fourth and fifth on the list respectively.

Other high-ranking celebrities in the top 10 of the list included television physician Mehmet Oz, ABC TV journalist Barbara Walters and U2 singer and activist Bono.

E-Poll Market Research ranked more than 6,600 celebrities on 46 personality attributes.

Forbes did not say how many people participated in the survey.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Jonathan Oatis)

Recent Headlines

14 hours ago in Local

UIS Breaks Ground on Student Union

5-4-16 UIS Groundbreaking

Ground has been broken on what is being referred to as the "Living Room" for the students of the University of Illinois Springfield.

14 hours ago in Local

Aeropostale to Close Springfield, Forsyth Stores

aeropostale

Aeropostale files for Chapter 11.

14 hours ago in Local

Social Service Groups Sue Governor for $100M Past Due

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Five dozen social service agencies working without pay for nearly a year because of the Illinois state budget stalemate are suing Gov. Bruce Rauner.

15 hours ago in Local

Trial Set for 2 of 6 Men Accused of Dismembering Woman’s Body

Champaign Police Murder Arrests WAND

Two of the six men charged with dismembering a missing Champaign woman will be held for trial after a judge heard testimony from a detective.

16 hours ago in Local

Death Knell for Graduated Income Tax

tax

Sponsors blame Rauner